Parliament sitting cut short after protest from pro-govt MPs

Vilufushi MP Hassan Afeef. (Photo/People's Majlis)

The parliamentary sitting was cut short on Monday, after pro-government MPs from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) expressed their displeasure after Vilufushi MP Hassan Afeef took over presidency of the sitting.

Opening Monday’s sitting, secretary-general Fathimath Niusha announced that both the Speaker Mohamed Nasheed and Deputy Speaker Eva Abdulla have recused themselves from presiding over parliamentary sittings in response to the no-confidence motions against them.

Niusha said that Afeef had been appointed to fill in, under Article 44 (e) of the Parliament’s regulations.

MDP MPs began protesting on the Parliament floor, alleging Afeef had taken over in violation of regulations.

They also expressed displeasure over the failure to schedule the no-confidence motion against Eva, as the 14-day notice sent to her has now expired.

Protesting MPs said the Parliament cannot conduct any other work, without proceeding with the no-confidence motions first.

One after the other, MPs took points of order and criticized the presidency, forcing Afeef to adjourn for break.

According to Article 44, in situations where both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker are unavailable, it is the responsibility of the Speaker to decide the MP who will fill in for them.

The Parliament lacked order when it re-adjourned after break.

When Maduvvari MP Adam Shareef Umar tried to present an emergency motion, some MDP MPs stood in front of him, and grabbed his mic.

Afeef repeatedly warned MPs to respect the Parliament’s regulations, before finally cutting the sitting short.